The ‘Have a Heart’ march took off from the Williamstown Centre in Ardkeen at around 2:15pm and made it’s way to the gates of University Hospital Waterford.
Around 2,500 from across the county and region took part.
The march was organised by a number of local and regional advocacy groups and was lasted an hour, to mirror the ‘golden hour’ that a heart attack victim has to receive treatment.
It was confirmed on Friday that the mobile cath lab, which has been will be kept in Waterford for an additional 20 weeks however there’s still no cover in the evenings and at weekends.
One of the organisers of today’s march, Hilary O’Neill from the South East Patient Advocacy Group, told WLR News that the cath lab is “not the solution” to the region’s healthcare needs as it doesn’t do interventional cardiology.
“35 per cent of those that present to that mobile cath lab then have to go through to the main cath lab, so it is making that list longer,” she said.
Dungarvan man Tony Wall is currently receiving treatment for a cardiac complaint.
“I was down on Tuesday with the cardiologist, and I have a long road ahead of me. I hope I’ll get there,” he said. “I’m living in Dungarvan and that’s what, an hour away (from Cork) not too bad on a Saturday or Sunday, but you try and make it after 5 o’clock Monday to Friday. I did test it and you won’t make it in an hour.”
He told WLR News that the staff at UHW are fantastic, but that who he has “a problem with is the he or she that’s signing their cheque.”
Clonea Power based Fine Gael Councillor, Seanie Power, lead today’s protest in a tractor bearing an ‘I am Tom’ sign, in reference to Waterford man Thomas Power who died while en route to receive treatment for a heart attack last summer.
He admitted that the local branch of the party felt like Waterford was “being let down by our Taoiseach and our Health Minister, but we’ll continue the fight as well as all the other politicians in Waterford.”
“All we can do is keep fighting and hopefully we’ll get there in the finish.”